“Loyalist Trails” 2019-47: November 24, 2019

In this issue:
Movie Project: The Good Americans
Scholars Wanted: Now Is The Time
1783: The Flight from New York City (Part Three), by Stephen Davidson
A Sentimental Bracelet for a New York Bride, 1785
Snuff Accessories: A History of the 1700 and 1800s
Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Two King’s Orange Rangers (Part 2)
JAR: Bernard Romans and the First Attempt at Fortifying the Hudson River
JAR: The Officers’ Spirited Memorial: A Prelude to the Newburgh Conspiracy
Washington’s Quill: Washington’s Musical Admirer – Francis Hopkinson
Ben Franklin’s World: An Early History of the White House
Loyalist Gazette: Paper Copy on its Way. Access Digital Copy
Region and Branch Bits
      + St. Lawrence Branch on Social Media
      + Gov. Simcoe Branch in Toronto, Dec. 4
From the Twittersphere and Beyond


Movie Project: The Good Americans

This video is a taster of the spirit of making The Good Americans – a storytelling project – for our fans and partners and friends. Neither a teaser nor a sizzle nor a demo, it’s a collection of clips created during Development and early Production with a dozen cameras and for a hundred reasons. So the sound is poor and the video is uneven, but the heart of Størmerlige Films, our production team, and our participants is on full display. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoy telling this story.

Watch the clip.

The music is by New Brunswick’s incomparable TOMATO/TOMATO, an instrumental of their “Take It On The Road”.

Scholars Wanted: Now Is The Time

Hello from the scholarship committee! As the year draws to a close, let’s take a moment to review scholarship activity.

We were delighted with the enthusiastic response to the 2019 Scholarship Challenge. This year, along with donations received prior to the May campaign launch, we raised $10,350.01 for scholarship. Yes, we still count pennies. This brings our scholarship committee four-year fundraising total to $35,169.00. Amazing!

We receive countless benefits through an active scholarship program and its success is due to your participation. Thank you.

In 2019 the UELAC scholarship program provided funding to Denise McGuire, Kelly Grant, and Jonathan Bayer. In 2020, Denise and Kelly complete their three-year doctoral awards and Jonathan enters his second year of scholarship support. Thanks to Jonathan for his contribution to the fall issue of the Loyalist Gazette. To learn more about Jonathan and his research please see his article, Tories Then and Tories Now: Loyalists in the American Press, 1812-1918 featured on page 26.

Now is the time to promote scholarship! And you can help with that. Please use branch meetings, newsletters and all related activities to share UELAC scholarship information.

The UELAC Loyalist Scholarship is available to Masters and PhD students undertaking a program in relevant research. This topic should further Canada’s understanding of the Loyalists and our appreciation of their, or their immediate descendants, influence on Canada. The award is for $2500 per year and is provided for each of two years for Masters, and three years for PhD students. Additional information is available at UEL Scholarship or by email to scholarship@uelac.org.

The deadline for scholarship applications is February 28, 2020.

…Bonnie Schepers, UE, UELAC Scholarship Chair

1783: The Flight from New York City (Part Three)

© Stephen Davidson, UE

Although the Treaty of Paris came into effect on September 3, 1783, the British remained in control of New York City long after that date. The evacuation of the royal army and American refugees was taking longer than anticipated. Sir Guy Carleton, the commander in chief of British forces, may have been dragging his feet on purpose – allowing Loyalists time to reach the city and escape before it was turned over to the Patriots. He was well aware of the persecution that the refugees had already endured and wanted to rescue as many allies as he could.

In letters back to England, Carleton wrote that American leaders were “elated and intoxicated by the peace” and had “cast off all desire to be reconciled to the loyalists”. State governments were powerless to thwart local associations that had formed to prevent Loyalists from reclaiming property that had been seized during the revolution. Writing to the British prime minister, Carleton said, ” it is utterly impossible to leave exposed to the rage and violence of these people men of character whose only offence has been their attachment to the King’s service.”

The evacuation ships were available to those who “had suffered by their attachment to His Majesty’s Government, or who were likely to suffer for their active loyalty by their stay here after the final evacuation”.

Despite having overstayed their welcome, New York City’s Loyalists had enough of a normal life that they could still find time to purchase and read the Royal Gazette. Its September editions continued to publish the now regular accounts of slave and apprentice escapes, properties for sale, and Loyalists’ intentions of leaving the city.

George Scribens was one of the apprentice runaways. He was so valued by his employer, Shadrack Furman, that the latter posted a reward for his capture. Scribens’ case is especially interesting because Furman suspected that he had run away to Nova Scotia. In fact, should any Loyalist sailing for Port Roseway capture Scribens, he could collect the posted reward from Captain Wheeler who had settled there.

Lt. Thomas Caffield of the North Carolina Regiment was among those who had every intention of sailing to either Nova Scotia, but was thwarted by his mother-in-law, Mrs. Melleson Carmer, who was hiding his wife Martha somewhere in the city.

Caffield’s notice underscores the tragic reality that the evacuation of New York City was tearing families apart. Demonstrating little intention of making peace with its Loyalist citizens with the conclusion of the revolution, the Patriot government now forced a geographical separation on families that had already been severely strained by political differences during the war.

The occasional “good news” story found its way into the October issues of the Royal Gazette. A Loyalist named Elias Hardy who was bound for London was already “admitted in the Court of King’s Bench and Chancery”. This kind of account held out hope to loyal Americans that there would be positions available within the larger empire that would let them continue to live in the manner to which they had grown accustomed in the rebellious colonies. It was only later that Loyalists discovered how few those opportunities were, compelling many to seek civil service and judicial appointments in British North America’s remaining colonies.

Elias Hardy, it should be noted, did not end his days in Britain as a lawyer or judge. Fifteen years after his departure from New York City, he died in Saint John, New Brunswick at the age of 55. The most noteworthy items in the estate left to his widow Martha were his library and a mahogany desk – presumably items which had once been loaded onto a Loyalist evacuation ship in New York in October of 1783.

Notices in the November issues of the Royal Gazette indicate that the end of New York’s days as a city of refuge were almost at an end. The former publisher of the New-York Packet, Samuel Louden, was returning to the city with plans to re-establish his newspaper and publish it twice a week. The city’s media was shifting from Loyalist to Patriot control.

Meanwhile, another ad announced that a collection was being established to repair the city’s Presbyterian Churches (congregations that were decidedly Patriot in their politics). Most of New York’s loyal Anglican clergy had left earlier in the year. No longer would the church sanctuaries of Manhattan Island echo with prayers for the king’s health and reign. Like all other aspects of life in New York City, religion was also siding with the victorious Patriots.

Having delayed the departure of the last British forces as long as he could, Sir Guy Carleton finally gave notice that New York City would be turned over to the Patriots at noon on November 25th. When that day finally dawned, the British commander in chief and his troops boarded ships that took them across the Hudson River to Staten Island. There, the last five ships bearing Loyalist refugees sailed for Nova Scotia on November 30th. Most of the passengers aboard the Peggy, the Danger, the Concord, the Diannah, and L’Abondance were the Black Loyalist members of the Wagon Master General Department, the Royal Artillery Department, or the Black Brigade – all of which would have had responsibilities right up to the moment of the army’s departure from its former headquarters. Carleton left America on December 5th.

Not all of New York City’s Loyalists had followed Carleton’s example. Many hoped that they could continue to make a life for themselves under a republican government. Adapting to the new reality, the Royal Gazette became Rivington’s New York Gazette and Universal Advertiser. But it would not last very long.

The December issues’ news stories included one about the seizure of the “real and personal estate of Peter Van Alstyne” of Albany County. Three days later, the Gazette‘s publisher, James Rivington, reported his own story of seizure. He placed an ad “offering a reward for the recovery of printing types and shot stolen from on board the sloop, Nancy.”

For a man who read a great deal, Rivington failed to read the temper of New York City following the departure of the British army and the Loyalist refugees. Recognized as the publisher of a Loyalist newspaper during the revolution, he incurred the wrath of New Yorkers. After physically attacking Rivington, the Sons of Liberty shut down his printing presses. The Gazette‘s former editor turned his hand to selling books and stationary supplies, but unforgiving Patriots did not buy his goods. Despite such abuse, Rivington remained in New York City, dying in poverty nineteen years after the departure of the British troops.

Though he had no treasures to bequeath, Rivington left historians with a rich legacy – years of newspaper accounts that chronicled the events of the American Revolution for New York City’s Loyalists refugees. He provided his 21st century readers with a ground level view of an experience that would otherwise be difficult to imagine in all of its details – especially the events of 1783, the year in which “everything {was} in motion and turned topsee turvy.”

(Editor’s note: Tomorrow, November 25th, will be the 236th anniversary of the British evacuation from New York City.)

To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.

A Sentimental Bracelet for a New York Bride, 1785

By Susan Holloway Scott, 19 Nov. 2019

Towards the end of the 18thc, fashionable jewelry often included small miniatures, painted in sepia on wafers of ivory. While many of these miniature paintings were memorial pieces, worn as mourning, others were sentimental tokens to be exchanged between lovers and friends. The design motifs were classically inspired, with urns, columns, willows, and often graceful women wearing either ancient dress, or the drifting white cotton gowns newly in vogue.

This bracelet features a wealth of romantic symbols: two winged cherubs carry entwined wreathes in honor of Hymen, the Greek god of marriage, while Cupid, the impish god of desire, stands below with his own attributes, a bow and arrow and a flaming torch of eternal love.

The miniature and the bracelet are considered to be the work of Irish artist and goldsmith John Ramage (c1748-1802). Like other artists in pursuit of sitters, Ramage had immigrated to the American colonies on the eve of the Revolution, following his Loyalist patrons first from Boston to Canada, and then to British-occupied New York City, where he remained after the war. His delicate and refined miniature portraits, elegantly presented in gold bracelets and brooches, made him a favorite with wealthy New Yorkers. His most famous sitter was newly-elected President George Washington, whose likeness was worn by his wife Martha.

The interior of this bracelet’s clasp, right, is engraved with a pair of initials – “D.T.-B. and C.S./1785”. Cornelia Stuyvesant (c1765-1825) and Dirck Ten Broeck (1765-1833) were both members of elite New York families with Dutch heritage; she was a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New Netherlands, while he was the grandson of Stephen Van Rensselaer I, the 7th Patroon and 4th Lord of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, and one of the wealthiest landowners in America.

Read more.

Snuff Accessories: A History of the 1700 and 1800s

By Geri Walton

Snuff, a pulverized form of tobacco, became popular from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s and was more popular than smoking. It was enjoyed by all classes and by both sexes, despite certain critics claiming it “deformed the nose, stained the skin, [and] tainted the breath.” The popularity of snuff resulted in a highly lucrative business not only for tobacco growers but also for manufacturers of snuff accessories. That was because snuff takers needed a variety of snuff accessories to accommodate their snuffing habit. This wide variety of snuff accessories was something the English Elizabethan dramatist and pamphleteer, Thomas Dekker, termed “artillery” and included such things as snuff-boxes, snuff jar or bottles, snuff mills, snuff rasps, and snuff spoons.

The centerpiece of snuffing was the snuff-box (called a snuff mull in Scotland). Snuff-boxes were popular because when snuff was exposed to the air, it dried out. What kept snuff from drying out was airtight snuff-boxes.

No matter what snuff accessories were used, whether it was a box, jar, mill, rasp, or spoon, snuff was a popular pastime up to mid-1800s. Almost everyone enjoyed it from Queen Charlotte to ordinary people like Madame Tussaud.

Read more.

Atlantic Loyalist Connections: Two King’s Orange Rangers (Part 2)

Land Dispute in Quaco (St. Martins), by Leah Grandy, 20 November 2019

The original land grant in Quaco was made to the members of the King’s Orange Rangers (KOR) via Colonel Thomas Van Buskirk in 1784, but the majority never took up their grants. Indeed, only eight of the members were still in Quaco when the land was eventually regranted in 1796. The size of lots varied by the rank of each KOR, ranging from 900 to 100 acres. One of the key resource areas for early colonial settlers in New Brunswick was marshland, which provided valuable forage for livestock. The marsh at Quaco would become the centre of a land dispute which would span several years, focused particularly between Captain John Howard and Sergeant/ Ensign William Carnell.

The records found among the Land Petitions of the Surveyor General of New Brunswick outline a back and forth struggle between a group of rank and file veterans of the American Revolution and one officer of social standing for the marshland that would be the key to farming success.

Read more.

JAR: Bernard Romans and the First Attempt at Fortifying the Hudson River

Lord Stirling was not happy. The American brigadier general was on a mission from George Washington to inspect the newly built fortifications in the Hudson Highlands of New York. As he sarcastically wrote Washington in early June 1776:

the Westermost Battery is a streight line constructed by Mr Romans at a very great Expence, . . . and can only annoy a Ship in going past . . . . [It] looks very picturesque, upon the whole Mr Romans has displayed his Genius at a very great Expence, & very little publick Advantage. The Works in their present open Condition, and scater’d Situation, are defenceless; nor is there one good place on the Island on which a Redoubt may be erected that will Command the whole . . . Yet every work on the Island is Commanded by the Hill on the West point, on the opposite side of the River, within 500 yards . . . a Redoubt on this West point is absolutely necessary, not only for preservation of Fort Constitution, but for it’s own importance on many accounts.

Lord Stirling was upset about the condition of the only defensive barrier on the Hudson River a little over a year since the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Lexington. Soon after the battle the Continental Congress and George Washington had both quickly seen that it was imperative to fortify the Hudson Highlands around West Point in order to prevent the British from quickly gaining control of the river and cutting of New England from the rest of the colonies.

West Point during the Revolution is usually thought of today as a superb example of eighteenth-century military fortification. It has been described as “far ahead of its time” and “revolutionary, complex, and elegant.” George Washington himself in 1783 called West Point the “key of America; It has been so pre-eminently advantageous to the defence of the United States.” Additionally, West Point is one of the oldest continually occupied military posts in the U. S. However, the job of fortifying the Hudson Highlands did not begin well. These early efforts are not well known today and provided many lessons for the future conduct of the war.

Read more.

JAR: The Officers’ Spirited Memorial: A Prelude to the Newburgh Conspiracy

By David Head, 14 November 2019

The officers of the Continental Army were sullen. It was December 1782, and they were stationed in and around Newburgh, New York, and neighboring New Windsor, where some 10,000 soldiers, the bulk of Gen. George Washington’s force, kept an eye on the British in New York City and waited to learn whether the war would continue in the spring. The victory at Yorktown a year before vanquished a British army and peace commissioners were at work in France on a treaty, but news was scanty and the war dragged on for an eighth winter.

The officers were afraid. When they thought about how much they’d sacrificed and how little recompense they’d enjoyed, would peace be a blessing? Or another humiliation? Officers thought of themselves as gentlemen, and although gentlemen weren’t supposed to be motivated by base things like money, they did need money to keep up the lifestyle proper to their station. Throughout the war, however, they’d been paid only sporadically, and in currency so depreciated that it was more valuable as blank paper. Congress had voted the officers pensions, in 1778 and in 1780, which gave hope that following the war they might be able to dress in a little silk and buy a tablemate a bottle of Madeira. But would the politicians follow through now?

Read more.

Washington’s Quill: Washington’s Musical Admirer – Francis Hopkinson

By David Hildebrand 22 November 2019

Unlike George Washington, Francis Hopkinson seems to have craved attention, enjoying both the public eye – and ear. From his days as a student at the College of Philadelphia through an impressive career as lawyer, statesman, judge, scientist, and inventor, Hopkinson often spoke publicly and wrote extensively. What few realize about him, though, is that he was intimately involved in shaping Americans’ opinions before, during and after the Revolutionary War – through song lyrics.

Hopkinson’s song “A Toast,” to which you are perhaps now listening, is but one of the signer/poet’s many musical outbursts. In three verses, he elevates the Gen. George Washington to a virtuous hero, and with stupendous foresight Hopkinson notes:

Oh long may he live our hearts to possess / And freedom still call him her own.

“A Toast” is particularly notable because Hopkinson both composed the melody and wrote the words. In most other cases, his “songs” are parodies, that is, music created by writing new words to an older familiar tune.

Read more.

Ben Franklin’s World: An Early History of the White House

Lindsay Chervinsky works as the White House Historian for the White House Historical Association. She joins us to explore the history of one of the earliest buildings in Washington D.C., the White House.

As we explore the early days of the White House, Lindsay reveals the history, work, and mission of the White House Historical Association; Why the White House stands where it does and the history of the land it stands on; And, details about the design and construction of the White House, including details about its furnishings and the workers who constructed it.

Listen to the podcast.

Loyalist Gazette: Paper Copy on its Way. Access Digital Copy

The paper copy of the Fall 2019 issue of the Loyalist Gazette was expected to go into the mail the past Friday 22 November. If so, you should receive your paper copy if you have requested it in your membership as soon as early in the week, obviously dependent upon where you live.

As a member, you can check out the digital copy of both the Spring and Fall 2019 issues of the Loyalist Gazette by logging in to the Member’s Section of the UELAC membership website at https://uelac.ca/.

If you have not yet logged in there, the instructions to set up your account (i.e., set your password) are on the main page, down a bit.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

St. Lawrence Branch on Social Media

Congratulations St. Lawrence Branch.

Please follow the branch on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UelacB.

St. Lawrence Branch has also just started on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/st.lawrencebranchloyalist/.

Gov. Simcoe Branch in Toronto, Dec. 4

“Victoria and Her Canadians” by Arthur Bousfield

St. David’s Towers Community Room, 51 Donlands Ave., 7:30pm

Though an ocean away, Queen Victoria was surprisingly involved in the lives of many of Her subjects in Canada.

Read more.

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • Well preserved gravestone of William Zeigler (1798 – 1883), son of Hessian soldier Johann Zeigler, in South Range Cemetery, Digby Co, NS … Brian McConnell UE
  • 20 November 1785 – Governor John Parr in his letter to England says; “…upwards of 25,000 Loyalists have already arrived in the Province, most of whom, with the exception of those who went to Shelburne, came to Halifax before they became distributed throughout the Province.”
  • After graduating Yale, John Bolton was a spy! We’re referring here to Major Benjamin Tallmadge, an earlier Yale grad, whose wartime code name was John Bolton (‘stache optional). As head of military intelligence for General Washington, he helped expose Benedict Arnold’s treason.
  • Colonial newspapers contributed to the perpetuation of slavery. Advertised 250 years ago today: “RUN-AWAY, a Negro Fellow, named LEEDS, stout and well made, and is very artful … ONE HUNDRED POUNDS Currency Reward; FIFTY POUNDS if by a Negro.” (South-Carolina Gazette 11/23/1769) Read the advert…
  • and a second one: Advertised 250 years ago today: “TO BE SOLD, A very likely Negro Boy, and as likely a Girl, can both talk French.” (Boston Gazette 11/20/1769) Read advert…
  • This Week in History
    • November 20, 1769, the Privy Council in London refers the proposal by the Ohio Company to create a new inland colony to the west of Virginia. The proposed colony would be called Vandalia. Benjamin Franklin is among the plan’s backers.
    • 20 Nov 1772, “…it becomes every well wisher to his Country, while it has any remains of freedom, to keep an Eagle Eye upon every innovation and stretch of power, in those that have rule over us.” – Samuel Adams & Boston Committee of Correspondence
    • 17 Nov 1773, Bostonians surrounded the house of the Clarke family, just revealed as the East India Company’s main tea consignees. Jonathan Clarke fired a pistol from an upstairs window. The crowd then broke every window in the house.
    • 21 Nov 1774, “Heard the most miserable of all female Singers; however she has the poor consolation to reflect that she was once young and pretty; and a tolerable performer on the Edinburgh Stage, 12 or 13 years ago.” – Capt. John Barker (in Boston?)
    • 21 Nov 1775, Loyalists end first siege of Ninety-Six, South-Carolina, which marked first serious conflict in SC.
    • 22 Nov 1775, “Yesterday the Lady of his Excellency General Washington arrived here, upon her way to New England. She was met at the Lower Ferry by the officers of the different battalions.” – Philadelphia Gazette
    • 22 Nov 1775, Congress authorizes humanitarian aid to starving Bermuda, in exchange for salt and military supplies.
    • 23 Nov 1775, The Continental armed brig “Washington” and schooner “Harrison” left Plymouth harbor to hunt British supply ships. Between them they caught three ships before the “Washington” was captured and the “Harrison” frozen in over the winter.
    • 16 Nov 1776, Ft Washington NY falls to British under Hessian Knyphausen.
    • 19 Nov 1776, Congress begs states to recruit for Continental Army in addition to their own militias.
    • 20 Nov 1776, Washington leads garrison fleeing Ft. Lee over “bridge that saved a nation.
    • 17 Nov 1777, Congress submits Articles of Confederation to states for ratification.
    • 22 Nov 1777, Americans evacuate Ft. Mercer NJ, leaving Delaware River open to British all the way to Philadelphia.
    • 18 Nov 1781, British evacuate Wilmington NC in the wake of surrender at Yorktown.
    • 23 Nov 1783, Annapolis Maryland, becomes US capitol until June 1784.
  • Townsends:
  • Clothing and Related:
    • An exquisite Robe à la française, c. 1770s via @ROMtoronto The perfect pattern-matching & graceful drape from neck to hem are superlative…Also quite partial to the palette.
    • 18th Century dress rear detail, stunning example of robe à la française, c. 1760
    • 18th Century dress, Robe à la Française. This is a very rare example of the use of velvet in 18th-century women’s dress, the chiné process has been combined with velvet – a difficult technique produced only in a few places in France. c.1770’s
    • Bodice detail of 18th Century dress of hand-painted & dyed cotton. All-over pattern of delicate, wavy floral stems, interspersed with clusters of flowers & bamboo shoots. Worn with a muslin fishu, 1760-1770
    • 18th Cent men’s waistcoat, Anna Maria Garthwaite’s original design of this is @V_and_A & identifies not only the artist but also the weaver, Peter Lekeux, & date of sale – Oct 23, 1747. Both were important contributors to Spitalfields silk industry.
    • 18th Century men’s Court frock coat, yellow striped embroidered silk, French, c.1785
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Pleased to find this rare old postcard: “Old King George Fire Engine – Presented to the Town of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, in 1787, by King George III of England. The oldest Fire Engine on the Continent; now in possession of Shelburne Fire Co.”
    • Spanish colonial official with the Order of Santiago, believed to be the Cuban-born Sebastián Calvo de la Puerta y O’Farrill (1751-1820), marqués de Casa Calvo and penultimate Spanish governor of Louisiana, attributed to Josef Salazar, circa 1800